July 26, 2022—Pittsburgh, PA—Ninety-six percent of the roughly $4 billion paid out in medical malpractice claims each year comes from settlements before trial and med mal stress coach Gail Fiore says much of it may be unnecessary.
“When high-functioning professionals like physicians are sued, it can be a devastating blow and their initial reactions may sometimes be counterproductive,” says Fiore. “This often leads insurance professionals and attorneys to mistakenly characterize them as ‘difficult clients,’ and negotiate settlements unnecessarily.”
If only one percent of those settlements could be avoided, she points out, it would represent $40 million in savings to insurance carriers. Ten percent would total $400 million.
Many of these physicians are experiencing Medical Malpractice Stress Syndrome or MMSS, says Fiore, who is CEO of The Winning Focus, a litigation stress coaching firm. She has launched a new website, www.medmalstress.com, to provide information and assistance to the thousands of physicians, nurses and other medical professionals who have had their lives upended by claims of medical malpractice.
“These highly skilled professionals, who are accustomed to dealing with high levels of stress in their professional lives, find themselves feeling isolated, under siege, defensive and experiencing significant impacts,” Fiore continues. “The purpose of this new website is to help them recognize that they are not alone – in fact, they are experiencing a very common syndrome – and they can get help.”
That help, Fiore says, can be focused and short-term, helping them deal with the immediate issues they face and become better able to participate in their own defense – as well as managing the effects on their personal lives and their practices. The medmalstress.com website points to some common symptoms of MMSS, urges anyone experiencing them to seek help, and offers a productive path forward.
“Whatever the outcome of the pending litigation,” adds Fiore, “if they don’t address the MMSS, it could affect the way they function in the future, have long-term effects on their practices and their personal lives, and potentially result in additional malpractice claims.”
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